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Lions danced through the neighborhood as drums and cymbals clashed with the fireworks, creating a rhythm and smoke for performers to sway through.
Community members have spent weeks preparing for the parade and building excitement to gather with their loved ones to celebrate the holiday. Bryant Wong, president of the Khalsa Asian American Association, said the dragon zodiac coincides with the opportunity for change within the community.
“We’re expecting changes for luck in families and in prosperity, so that’s what this whole thing’s about,” Wong said. “We’ve been doing this for generations. Chinatown has been in existence for almost 150 years now and we’ve been doing this for that long.”
As lions danced and people marched, residents and activists within the neighborhood voiced opposition to the proposed $1.55 billion arena for the Philadelphia 76ers that would occupy Market East. Wong said it’s important for “everybody in the community to gather together” against the project.
“We are one community, and we stand in solidarity against the arena,” Wong said. “We [stood] in solidarity against the casino before, and we [stood] again in solidarity for another arena prior to that, so we are all together as a community.”
Community members also united in memory of Raymond Ling, a Philadelphia Suns member who passed away in 2023. Fellow member Brendan Lee said Ling’s spirit was with them during the parade.
“He was an elder in our group and he supported everything we did,” Lee said. “Family man, great guy, a great character and not only a mentor, but someone that you look up to and someone that was just great in the community, great with kids, great with everybody.”
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